So You Want to Wear Glitter Nail Polish…

…But you don’t want to take it off… I have to admit, this is a deterrent for a lot of people, myself included. Who doesn’t love glitter nail polish? I have bottles and bottles of the stuff, but almost never crack it out, since the thought of removing it is just so darn off-putting. In the last little while I’ve discovered a couple of great methods (other than the foil method, which in my opinion, takes way too long) for making it a bit easier to remove those stubborn chunks of glitter from your nails.

1) Sephora’s Instant Nail Polish Remover for Glitter
This product comes highly recommended via YouTube and a coworker of mine who is similarly obsessed with nail polish. It’s the type of remover that has a soaked sponge, you stick your finger in and voila!, a clean nail comes out. This one has a special rough bit of sponge in the middle that you’re meant to rub your nail against in order to get the glitter off. It works a treat, although my only gripe with this and other similar types of removers is that after repeated uses, you start getting pieces of random glitter on your clean nails.

2) Kit Exfoliating Round Cotton Pads
You can use any exfoliating cotton pads, really, and I’ve actually been using these to take off all my nail polish for the past year or so. The only place I’ve been able to find these is at Rexall, which I don’t often frequent, but these have tiny blue scrubby bits that help take off any kind of nail polish, but really help with glitter, since glitter usually ends up cutting up the cotton pad or getting it all stuck to your nails.

What are your recommendations for taking glitter nail polish off?

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The Best Multitasking Brush Ever?

Sephora brushes are some of my favourites, and I use them everyday, but they are pretty expensive to keep buying. I had mentioned before that I would absolutely love to try the foundation brush from the Pro range, which would complete my collection of Sephora face brushes, for the most part, but I was always put off by the $42 price, which is significantly more than my current everyday foundation brush (Real Techniques Buffing Brush). Recently, I was in the store browsing and I noticed that they had brought out a couple of mini versions of their popular brushes, including the #55, which sells for $30 CAD, still expensive, but much more palatable for me.

Beauty bloggers around the internet have been raving about the full-sized brush and I can completely see why. I got the PRO Mini Airbrush #55.5 in an online order a couple days ago and have been loving it. The interesting thing is that because the bristles are longer and less dense than what I’m used to, it gives a really lovely light and even application of product. I have also been using it to stipple in concealer, powder all over the face and apply bronzer (in that order), and it works beautifully for all of the above. So not only is this is a great brush for travel because it’s small, but because it can be used for everything! I can definitely say I’m in love and really happy that I held off on buying the full size brush. If you’re looking for a good foundation / all-in-one brush, I would highly recommend this one.

Have you tried the 55.5 and/or 55 and what did you think?

Creamy Browns

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If there is one makeup item I can’t get enough of (aside from eyeliner), but will probably never ever use up, it’s brown cream eyeshadow. Over the years I’ve collected quite a few. Most don’t make it to my daily use drawer, though let’s get real – it takes some extreme love and dedicated use to actually get though an entire pot (or stick) of cream shadow.

I have incorporated cream shadow into my daily makeup routine, albeit only a smidgen. Due to my oily eyelids practically eating powder eyeshadow in the space of an hour, the discovery of cream shadows has had a dual purpose. Not only does it do what it says on the tin–be pretty and neutral on the lids all day–it also helps to make any eyeliner or shadow I apply over it last that much longer. Here are some of my favourites (and one un-favourite just to be fair):

Sephora Eye Pencil in 502
Let’s start with my un-favourite to get the bad over before the good. I’m not sure you can even get your hands on this anymore, although they have a similar concept now available – the packaging looks different and I don’t know if the product has been reformulated, but this is a pale, shimmery brown that is quite beautiful, but has absolutely no lasting power – it creases and slides around, definitely not recommended for those with oily eyelids. Perhaps a primer would help.

MaxFactor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadow in Bronze
The most recent acquisition of mine – and extremely exciting too! MaxFactor is the UK version of CoverGirl, and we poor North Americans can’t get our hands on it without some help. Thanks to a friend of mine who vacationed in the UK over Christmas, I was able to get this sent over, along with a few other goodies from UK drugstores, to test out. It’s a beautiful, rich, reddy brown, and has the softest texture of the bunch – it almost feels whipped instead of packed into the jar like some cream shadows. I’ve only tried it out once or twice, and it blends out really nicely and lasts decently long, although it is not the most long-lasting of the bunch.

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24-Hour Cream Gel Shadow in Bad to the Bronze
The most affordable and versatile taupe you’ll get, in a very generous quantity – this one’s been raved about by everyone and their mother, so I won’t go on about it here. This one gets almost daily use, and I’ll probably never finish it. A great staple, and one that every makeup junkie or noob should have in their arsenal.

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Cocoa
Caviar sticks are a very luxurious and creamy formula; they glide on beautifully and stay all day. Cocoa is the deepest of the bunch, a warm brown that can be blended out all over the lids or messily smudged into the lash line. I would highly recommend these if you have the budget.

Gosh Cosmetics Forever Eye Shadow Stick in Light Copper
Another more recent purchase of mine, I discovered this while browsing the makeup aisles at Shoppers Drug Mart and discovered a delightfully shimmery and warm light brown shade. It’s a bit more shimmery than I like (hard to tell from the picture), so it doesn’t get trotted out much on the daily, but for a special occasion, this will definitely be making an appearance. It’s smooth and glides on really easily, and only costs around $13 – better if you can wait for a sale.

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes in Ample Amber
Combined with the Color Tattoo, this baby gets the most use on a daily basis – I just blend a tad all over the lids and bam, one-step subtle shadow done that lasts all day. This one is the closest to my natural skin tone, so I can get away with applying it pretty messily. While it doesn’t glide on as nicely as some of the other formulas, this one sticks around and really does act like an eyeshadow and primer all in one.

Next on my hit list might be a MAC Paint Pot, but with so many options available at the drugstore, I’m not sure I need to shell out that much cash for a quality product. As if I really need anymore creamy brown eyeshadows, but what would you recommend?

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Sephora Brush Love

Sephora Brush
When it comes to makeup brushes, I’ve come a long way – from stealing ‘borrowing’ my first Estee Lauder powder brush from my mom’s stash of unused brushes (which was my only brush for years) and only buying cheap brushes that cost ~$10 (big mistake!).

Sephora has quite a large range of products, some of which are hits and others are misses. Their makeup brushes are one of their biggest hits overall, and over the years, I have built up a mini collection, some of which I use on a daily basis. They generally wash well, dry decently quickly, and don’t shed or get dried out with continued washing.

The first is the Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush #57, which I use everyday to blend in concealer under my eyes and sometimes on the rest of my face. It’s small and soft, and dense but not too dense. Next is my newest purchase, the Pro Flawless Light Powder Brush #50, which I actually bought recently to replace my Estee Lauder, which I have been using everyday since about 2009 (!). It’s lovely and soft and doesn’t pick up too much product, which I like. I’m still getting used to it – after using the same powder brush for so long, it’s weird to switch to something new.

One brush that I haven’t quite figured out a use for yet is the Classic Mineral Powder Brush #45 – on the website it says Multitasker Brush, but on the handle of mine it says Mineral, so I’m not sure if they’ve renamed it, but it’s a very dense brush with short bristles, which I assume is for packing on product. I did toy with the idea of using it for powder, but it simply picks up too much product. I would like to try mineral foundation someday, so I am saving it for that, but at this juncture, it’s just sitting and looking pretty.

Another brush I should really be pulling out more is a very simple one – the Angled Liner Brush #22 – I got this one years ago and it seems like they have made a ‘Pro’ version to look the same as the rest of their line, but mine doesn’t match up – I’m sure it does the same thing though. I rarely use pots of gel/cream liner because I’m so lazy, but this one does get busted out every now and then when I want to pop a bit of champagne coloured eyeshadow on the inner third of my lower lash line.

Lastly is a lovely, and multi-use product, the Pro Angled Blush Brush #49. You may or may not have noticed on this blog, but I never ever post about blush – that is because I don’t use it. I own one – only for cases when I feel like a lipstick is washing me out slightly, but really, even for special occasions, I never really use it. I had been looking for a fluffy angled brush to apply bronzer/contour with and I do like using this one along with another one in rotation for that very purpose. On the odd day I decide to bust out some powder highlight, this one also works well. Using the pointy end of the brush is great – since the bristles are long and light, they don’t pick up too much product, making this a great double duty brush – triple if I were to use blush.

One point to make is that they have various collections, and I mostly have face brushes from their Pro collection – would I say they are better quality? Definitely. The bristles are nicer, and everything about them seems more luxe. I would love to add more to my collection, maybe try eye brushes (I have a motley assortment of eye brushes in my collection right now, so probably not for a while), and the Pro Airbrush #55, which I have heard amazing things about.

The price point of Sephora brushes certainly aren’t cheap, but all in all, I’d say these are mid-high range brush, similar in price and quality to MAC, but nothing that crazy. If you invest in nice brushes and take care of them I’d definitely say they are worth the splurge!

What are your favourite Sephora brand brushes, or other makeup brushes? What would you recommend?

2014 Favourites: Skincare Products

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Part two of my 2014 favourite products is skincare – I’ve tried as much as possible to include products I discovered and/or bought this year, although there are plenty of products I have been using for years and will continue to use. The products in this post are the ones that I was most excited to discover and gave me that aha! moment.

The first I have talked about before and was hyped up quite a bit on the internet. I didn’t really get into it until the summertime, but now I am a convert – Indeed Labs Hydraluron works amazingly well almost as a glue to help my moisturizer ‘stick’ more to my face. The Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate is another well-loved cult product that I also took a while to understand. I’ve had the bottle for a while and decided to experiment with the battling oil with oil approach. The first few times I tried it I woke up with an oily face and didn’t see any difference, so this one went back into the drawer for quite a few months. More recently, I have been battling a case of hormonal acne – you know, the big red ones that hurt like bruises. After exhausting several options, I applied some of this oil as a spot treatment, and when I woke up in the morning, the blemishes had gone down considerably. I now use this a couple times a week, sometimes as a spot treatment, sometimes mixed in with my moisturizer all over. Love.

Lurking in the back of the picture is a mini Urban Decay De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray. I’ve gone through an entire full-sized bottle of this, as well as a travel size of the All Nighter Setting Spray. I like both, but the De-Slick really makes your makeup stick, which is a must for me with my oily face.

For my lips, I’ve discovered that unfortunately, wearing lipstick requires quite a bit of maintenance, so that is where the Lush Popcorn Lip Scrub comes in. I actually prefer the Mint Julips flavour, but they’re both the same idea. After scrubbing, I apply a layer of the Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm and my lips are good to go.

To remove my makeup, I really experimented with balms and oils this year – my favourite is the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, which is unscented and removes EVERYTHING, including waterproof eyeliner, mascara, the works. After that, I have a whole host of cleansers at all times (my favourite type of skincare product to buy), but the one I’ve found the most versatile is the Philosophy Total Matteness Cleanser & Mask – it is like liquid clay and has tiny granules that allow you to scrub gently. I also use this as a mask sometimes, and it works great as a spot treatment on blemishes as well. It appears they’ve stopped carrying the Total Matteness line at Sephora.com, but you can also find this in some of the bigger, fancier Shoppers Drug Marts.

For toner, the Michael Todd True Organics Blue Green Algae Toner has been quite a find – another product that has been raved about over and over on the internet, so I’ll spare you the boredom of re-reading it, but I will say it’s totally worth the money and what people say is true. It’s gentle, effective and generally wonderful. For eye cream, the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado has also been a good one – I have started to use it morning and night and find it great either way. Because I’m still too young to see the results of eye cream, it’s difficult to say if this really works or if I will repurchase. Either way, one tub lasts for ages, which is great value for money.

Lastly, and most expensively, is the GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment. It does everything it says on the tin and works great as a spot treatment (my way of using it without using it all up quickly!). If you have blemish-prone skin, I would recommend this one. I wouldn’t say it’s my holy grail, but it’s close and works fantastically well. I am dying to try the new cleanser that they have just brought out to go with the mask.

As you can see, the majority of my favourites have been recommendations from multiple people on the internet, which has been a great resource in my quest for the perfect skincare routine. One of these days I will do a post about my daily skincare routine / absolute must haves, but I thought I would use this post to first share the finds that have actually worked really well for me and I have happily added to my stash.

*Edit: I totally forgot to mention the Sephora Bottom’s Up Beauty Spatula lurking at the bottom of the picture! It has since been discontinued, but it has been a marvelous tool for getting at the last elusive bits of products that I’ve spent lots of money on. You can find similar makeup spatulas on Amazon – I would highly recommend!

What have your favourites been in skincare and what are your skincare concerns?

The Face Wardrobe: What’s in My Bag?

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Having just bought a new handbag recently (the Michael Kors Selma Large in navy blue), as a half Christmas present to myself (parents chipping in for the other half), I decided why not show you what I use to touch up every now and then – at work, after work, or generally if I’m out?

Firstly, and most importantly are the Clean & Clear Oil-Absorbing Sheets – you know the drill, I have an overly oily face, so these come in handy and get used every single day. I pretty much only buy these on sale at Shoppers, and sometimes I switch them up with some Sephora brand ones, but as long as I have blotting sheets, I’m happy. Occasionally I will touch up with powder, the one I have is the MAC Studio Fix Plus Powder Foundation in NC40. This used to be my go-to powder, back when I only used concealer and powder everyday, but now I reserve it for touch ups. This compact will last forever! With that, I have my handy dandy Sephora Collection Retractable Kabuki Brush, which has a really neat lid so makeup doesn’t get all over my bag, and, by the way, really looks like it needs a good washing..

If I’m having a real makeup-melt off day, I’ve got my MUFE Full Cover Concealer in 7 that I mentioned in a previous post. A more recent buy for me, about a month ago, is the CoverGirl + Olay The De-Puffer Eye Concealer in 330 Light, for under the eyes. It has a salmon tint to it and a metal tip applicator, which sounds great in theory, but you can’t actually pat concealer into your skin with a metal tip. It gets messy, trust me. The colour so far is great and I’ve only used it on a couple occasions so the jury is still out on this one.

Scent-wise, I carry around with me a very simple and easy-to-wear scent, Marc Jacobs Daisy, which you can tell I’ve been carrying around for ages since the name and flowers have half-worn off the packaging. And the newest addition to my ever-growing stash of portable cosmetics is a teeny tiny tube of L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream, which I received as part of a recent 500-point perk at Sephora.

The only really rotating item in this lineup is my lip product of choice. Currently, as we are in cold weather times, especially in Canada, I’ve been using the Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Berry Allure, which looks scarily purple in the tube, but comes out quite a bit pinker on the lips.

What have you been carrying around in your purse lately, and do you rotate the items quite a often?

The Shopping Wardrobe: Sephora Haul

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I just got back from a short trip to the States, and didn’t do any shopping like I wanted to, except for hitting up Makeup Central, a.k.a. Sephora. Prior to the trip I had made a list of things I wanted to buy and compared the Canadian and American prices – there are a lot of things that are marked up by a lot in Canada, so it’s 100% worth the wait if you can get to the U.S. To the products:

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, $28.50 USD / $35 CAD
My second tub of the best makeup remover I’ve encountered so far. Works perfectly for my oily skin, and takes off my waterproof mascara and eyeliner very easily.

Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel, $17 USD / $20 CAD
I’m leery about this one, but it was a bit of an impulse buy – I received a sample of this from a Sephora order ages ago and found it worked decently. Through the years, salicylic acid has never really worked well on my acne, but I’ve found recently that changing up treatment products tends to work the best, since my skin tends to build up a tolerance to whatever I slap on constantly. Rotating benzoyl peroxide, clay, tea tree oil and adding this salicylic acid product works quite decently.

Sephora Sheet Masks in Green Tea and Pearl, $6 USD / $8 CAD
Haven’t tried either of these yet but I’m a huge fan of the sheet masks from Asia. The girl who recommended them to me said they were great, but I suppose that’s part of her job, so I have high hopes.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Foundation, $38 USD / $49 CAD
I am a relative newcomer to the foundation or anything of the liquid/cream face covering variety, but I was itching to try this one after hearing rave reviews online – plus it has more natural ingredients and is supposed to be decent for oily skin like mine. I got the shade Medium Honey, which is the medium with peach undertones. Haven’t cracked it out of its box, yet, but I’m really quite excited to try this as we transition into cooler weather.

Too Faced Natural Eye Neutral Eye Shadow Collection, $36 USD / $45 CAD
Really wanted to get this one for the mattes, but have not tried it as of yet. I will admit I bought in to all the hype online about this product as well, but it swatches beautifully.

Lavanila The Health Deodorant Travel Size, $8 USD / $14 CAD
Ever since the Body Shop discontinued their deodorant line, I’ve been floundering trying to find an aluminum-free deodorant. I’ve actually had my eye on this one for years but couldn’t justify the $$$ on deodorant. I couldn’t find the full-sized one in store, so I decided what the heck – why not try the travel size just in case!

Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment, $69 USD / $76 CAD
It did take a bit of self-convincing that I could spend a whopping $70 on a face mask, but since it has such good reviews online, and this one would be perfectly suited to my skin (out of all the Glamglow masks), so I am expecting fairly decent results from this. My only gripe so far would be the packaging! Why do they need to include a pound of cardboard with the tiny jar of product?!

Have any of you been to Sephora, or shopping, recently? What would you recommend?